Movie Review: The Namesake ****


Movies like this make me proud of Indian cinema. The life and emotions of an ABCD (American-Born-Confused-Desi), or as a matter of fact, any Indian child brought up abroad, couldn’t be captured better.

Parents go abroad to live the ‘American Dream’ – have children who grow up torn between two radically different cultures – tragedy strikes – realisation dawns – children brought back to their roots – they manage to find a balance between their ‘modern’ life abroad and the profoundness of their Indian culture.

Although over two hours long, the movie is super fast and cuts straight to the chase, without over-dramatising.

Although I haven’t read Jhumpa Lahiri’s book, I can’t imagine the movie to be a disappointment for those who have.

Phenomenal acting by Tabu, Irfan Khan, and Kal Penn; the music by Nitin Sawney starts and ends the movie with perfect harmony; the colour palette evolves with the story and the shots are asthetically brilliant; there are nudity and kissing shots that seem natural rather than eeky for a change; all-in-all Mira Nair deserves a big round-of-applause.

India has been depicted wonderfully through the colours and craziness of Calcutta alongside the joyful and warm, yet turbulent lives of Indian families. When the film zooms into New York – the radical divergence of lifestyle is bluntly evident, allowing you to not only understand but feel the differences of culture.

I’m not an ABCD, but something quite close. Having moved to England when I was 3, then back to India when I was 10, then Dubai, Australia and now Spain, most of my ‘developing years’ have been spent outside Mother India.

A 7 year stint in India and regular visits have kept me rather grounded to my roots, yet the frequent confusion in morals and ‘sence of belonging’ I feel that stems from (perhaps) over-exposure to the western world, is reflected in this film with biting accuracy.

One of the best things in the story of this film was the Indian-dates-American-but-marries-Indian bit.

After being in love with an American blond-hair-blue-eyed girl, a sudden gravitational pull towards his Indian-ness leads him to marry an Indian girl.

This Indian girl has been brought up abroad too and has the perfect mix of western ambition/sex appeal and Indian culture – so all seems hunkydory at first. Then she lands up cheating on her husband with an old French lover, which leads to their separation. A message for all Indian parents who believe that their Indian children MUST marry other Indians: it will not secure a long and happy marriage.

A must watch for all Indians living abroad, and all Indian parents with children living abroad, and anyone else who wants a true peek into the lives of a modern Indian family today.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Namesake ****

  1. Great review! I am looking forward to seeing it…

  2. hey..
    last time we chatted u were talking about moving to spain..and now u r finally there!! so jealous and so happy someone is living the wonderfully vagabond life.. am still in good ol’ mumbai where the pace makes everything else a blur and i wonder every now and then…where did all the years go ?

  3. Soltero: Catch it fast, I think it’s not going to be in the cinema for much longer.

    Shruti!! What a pleasant surprise to find a comment from you on here. What email are you using these days? send it to me and will drop you a line.

  4. hey there. loved the namesake too. lovely soundtrack. but one clarification. it’s not an indian movie. much as we’d like to believe it to be.

  5. Hey, i’m Anish’s friend and i stumbled across your blog, its beautifully written with the just the right amount of insight and punch, i enjoy reading it lots. As for the movie, actually i was kind of disappointed as I worshipped the book and had huge, maybe even impossible expectations for the movie version, a bit like harry potter 🙂 anyway, you must read the book, its light and easy but lovely at the same time. Keep posting and being inspirational x
    Ishika x

  6. I have already seen it. Two weeks ago in Majadahonda, not in the downtown, so I imagine it was rather popular. Well, there were just two people in the theatre. It is a very nice story. Very nice.

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